Clearly inspired by Eeyore's XB12X diary, I figured it would be neat to do something similar for KTM's 950 Supermoto. Though probably not as "interesting" to as many people as the Ulysses (I mean there really aren't anywhere near as many KTM bashers as Buell bashers
), I suspect there will be sufficent to make it worthwhile.
In additon to my experiences, I'd like others to pipe in with items they think would be interesting: whether it be modifications, accessories, suggestions, potential or trouble spots, etc.. Not to mention questions.
But first off- to save a lot of redundant posts- let me just say that
This is an absolutely kick-ass motorcycle
And to answer the big question- "how can a 450 pound twin in any way shape or form be considered be considered a supermoto?"
I don't exactly know. What I do know is that speaking as a Duke and Husaberg supermoto owner, KTM pulled it off. The bike feels and rides like a supermoto.
So, now that we have those key points covered, on with the show...
I knew I would be getting a KTM 950 around about now. What I didn't know was whether it would be an SM, an SE, or an A. Plenty of reasons to get any of them, and no reason not to get any of them. After thinking through what I really wanted to use it for (loosely defined as street riding, though that includes dirt roads and mild single track- the kind of riding I do every week) I was pretty much leaning to towards the SM. But I wanted to check out the SE first, just to make sure.
I got a call from my dealer, Hanover Powersports, last week saying they'd just gotten the SE and would have it prepped by Saturday, so I stopped in on the way home from a ride.
Now, the SE looks positively killer in pictures and I almost expected to fall in lust for the impulse buy. And it did look good. But the bike just didn't look as good in person as the pictures. The front end looked a lot more spindly, and the brake looked kind of inadequate for my street use. I put them side by side for a closer comparison.
Between how I planned to use the bike, the looks, and the seat height (real big difference) it took a lot less time to make the SM decision than I would have guessed last week.
I went to the dealer's today and after taking care of business and a run through on it (sag seemed close, so I left the suspension alone) headed out. My first impression was that the bike sounds pretty good with the stock pipes- something I could easily live with except that they get real hot because of the catalyzers. So I'll probably get aftermarket cans at the first service.
My second impression was that the bike felt like it was broken in already- clutch and gearbox action was buttery smooth, and the engine is pretty smooth and has a great feel to it. Front brakes are pretty strong- a real 1 finger deal with quick bite and rapidly progressive. Rear seems to be nicely dirt biased with a lot more pedal movement and more gradual engagement.
Very comfortable riding position and easy to move around, and well set up for standing. In the least surprising news category- the seat is hard
36 miles later, it was time to get dirty with the bitch
As an aside- you'll notice that the standard KTM tank bag is a pretty good fit.
I did a couple of uneventful dirt miles and the bike worked pretty well: remarkably similar to my Duke- only waaaay more power
I followed that up with some twisties just to get a feel of how it behaved. In a word great
The bike definately feels motardish in how it behaves and likes to be ridden- very "together" and controllable.
I had to get home to do some stuff, so had to stop the fun. The highway riding part was tough- what with running up and down the rev range for the 15 miles or so. The bike is pretty smooth on the highway and the wind blast dwasn't too noticeable below 80 or so. The bike is geared high, so top gear isn't too useful; but it makes the lower gears pretty useful. Don't know if I'll get the 16T countershaft sprocket yet.
After I got home and took care of some things, I did a couple of standard things: battery tender & Widders wiring, and a handlebar mount.
Fair amount of room under the seat, but no compartment like the A
This Aerostitch sheepskin worked well on the Duke, so I'll give it a try
Last but not least for the day- a very important addition
because it holds this
That's pretty much it for the first day. I'll leave with some pitures